Volunteer Instructor Newsletter - Spring 2019

minnesota department of natural resources

Volunteer Instructor Newsletter

Spring 2019

In Memory


RTO Chelsie (Leuthardt) Grundhauser passed away December 7, 2018, following a courageous battle with cancer.  Hundreds of state conservation officers, other law enforcement personnel and friends and family gathered at the Graceville High School on Saturday, December 15, to pay their final respects and to celebrate her life.

Eulogists who talked about Chelsie had many common terms describing her:  determined, driven, intelligent, kind and self-confident.  She was extraordinarily strong in the face of adversity and the kind of person who made a positive impression on those she met in the field or the classroom.

Some of you may have met Chelsie in her role as Conservation Officer in the Prior Lake Station.   She began her duties as Regional Training Officer in April of 2018. 

Please keep her family and friends in your thoughts and prayers.

Shakopee man is snowmobile safety instructor of the year

Snowmobile Instructor of the Year

L - R: Regional Training Officer Greg Oldakowski, Kim Werkmeister, Regional Training Officer Mike Lee.

Kim Werkmeister of Shakopee has been named the Volunteer Snowmobile Instructor of the Year for 2018.

During his 42 years as a volunteer instructor, Werkmeister has instructed more than 3,500 youth and adults about how to operate snowmobiles safely and responsibly.  He's also the longest active member of the River Valley Trailblazers Snowmobile Club of Shakopee and Jordan, having been involved for more than 45 years.  He also clears and grooms trails and coordinates a snowmobile map for Scott County.

"Kim is an extraordinarily active volunteer who truly cares about passing on Minnesota's safe snowmobiling tradition to new riders," said Conservation Officer Bruce Lawrence, recreational vehicle coordinator for the DNR's Enforcement Division.  "He understands the connection between safety training and fewer snowmobile crashes.  Volunteer instructors like Kim are a big part of the reason why snowmobiling in Minnesota is such a safe activity."

Known for putting on engaging and interesting snowmobile safety classes, Werkmeister is patient with the kids he teaches and a mentor to other members of his snowmobile club.  They often seek out his guidance when there are questions about trail grooming and maintenance, or when they simply want to try riding somewhere new.

Congratulations, Kim!

Reminder for Snowmobile Instructors

We recently learned that the snowmobile CD was still being used for students to complete snowmobile training.  The CD is no longer being accepted (since 2016). 

Students should first complete the online snowmobile course, located on the DNR website at: 

Online Youth Snowmobile Course

If you have and Snowmobile CDS or know of any still being handed out, please discard them.

Thank you.

Safe Riders - Snowmobile Safety Video Set

The International Snowmobile Manufacturers Association has a set of videos available for volunteer instructors to use for youth snowmobile classes. There are 13 videos, and are all under 3 minutes in length.

Go to:  Safe Riders Video Set  to download them, or contact us at enforcement.education@state.mn.us and request a jump drive to be mailed to you.

Safe Riders

Safety Message

Readiness Plan for DNR Safety Instructors to Consider

Safety instructors leading DNR safety training programs practice due care and diligence to respond to incidents which can occur in the classroom or at outside locations. Despite taking measures to prevent accidents, every so often an incident takes place during a class.  While we don’t ask volunteers to have first aid training, please make sure you know the procedures to respond quickly and appropriately, if the need arises.

A Readiness Plan also referred to as Risk Management Plan, should be part of the planning stages for those future training classes.

Are you prepared to respond to an emergency?

Things to consider:

  • Do any instructors/adults have first aid or emergency medical background to assist with first aid;
  • Make the necessary assignments to have responsible persons who can react to emergency situations for each session, whether in the classroom or at a rural testing location.

What if an accident/incident occurs during a safety class?

Have a plan of action:

  • Personal injury – call an ambulance if needed. Give basic first aid and contact the local area Conservation Officer to report the injury.
  • Vehicle damage or equipment failure – Must be reported to the local area Conservation Officer/RTO.

Instructor groups should:

  • Appoint a “Safety Officer” to check and re-check equipment and monitor potential hazards that may arise throughout the training course.

2018 Firearms Safety Instructor of the Year - Nominations Now Being Accepted

The MN DNR Division of Enforcement Safety Training Section is seeking nominations for Firearms Safety Instructor of the year for 2018.

Most of us know a dedicated volunteer instructor who ‘goes the extra mile’.  The DNR would like to recognize and award an individual volunteer safety instructor who has gone above and beyond to make the Firearms Safety program a success in their local community. 

Please take a few minutes to nominate a deserving volunteer Firearms safety instructor.  The nomination form is available on the DNR website at DNR Website Instructor Page.

The deadline for submitting nominations is 11:59pm on Friday, April 12, 2019.

Four Generations of Firearms Safety

Dave Olson

Four generations of Dave Olson's family have received firearms safety certification, including (left to right), granddaughter Amber Lacher, Olson, great-granddaughter Brooklyn Lacher, and daughter Margo Bauck.

Dave Olson wasn’t much different from other farm kids whose introduction to firearms occurred early in life. Despite his familiarity with guns, when his mom first heard about an organized firearms safety program in the 1950s, she insisted he and his brother complete it.

Some years went by and Olson, now 77, got married and moved off the farm. When he hunted, he kept in mind the safety lessons he’d learned. But it wasn’t until tragedy struck he realized their importance. Two neighbor boys had been hunting squirrels. They stopped – for lunch, perhaps – and one of them propped his gun against a tree. The gun fell and fired a shot that struck one of the boys in the neck, killing him.

More than five decades later, recalling the incident still brings tears to Olson’s eyes.

“That’s what started my involvement in firearms safety,” said Olson, who lives in Owatonna. “Things like that should never happen.”

A certified instructor since 1966, Olson is one of the 4,000 volunteers across the state who are the backbone of the DNR Enforcement Division’s firearms safety program. More than 1.3 million students have received firearms safety certification since the program began in 1955. The results have been dramatic, with decreasing numbers of firearms-related hunting incidents since the program began. Olson also was instrumental in 1991 when the state Legislature, after several previous attempts, passed a law mandating firearms safety training for anyone born after Dec. 31, 1979, who wanted to buy a hunting license.

Olson has taught thousands of kids and adults about safe firearms handling and ethical hunting, but he especially cherishes the teaching that’s occurred within his family, which includes four generations of firearms safety graduates. All three of his daughters and his son have completed it, as have two of his grandchildren. Last year, his great-granddaughter Brooklyn took the course. Olson instructed the field day portion of her training over the Christmas holiday.

“It’s the thing to do in the Olson family,” he said. “It really makes you feel good.”

Firearms Safety Manual Update

We received an outstanding number of responses and feedback from our instructors on the new firearms safety manual.  Thank you to all of you who took the time to go through it and submit feedback.  Your comments and recommendations are very valuable in shaping the final product.

Regional Training Officers have now completed their review of the responses and feedback, and made the appropriate changes.  We are still on track to provide the completed manual by early May.

Guidefitter Discount Offers for Educators

For the longest time, Guidefitter has offered gear discounts strictly for outdoor guides and outfitters. Recently, in order to show appreciation for your efforts and influence in the field, Guidefitter and their brand partners have opened up their gear discount program to all Outdoor Educators. There are all kinds of products available. Apparel, boots, archery gear, optics, backpacks, cameras, watches, ammo, etc.  Anything, you name it!

There are no hidden fees with Guidefitter - you simply join with an email, password, and a document verifying your status as an outdoor educator.

Here is a link to join: https://www.guidefitter.com/gear-discounts-for-outdoor-educators.

For more information on the program, click here.

If you would like to speak with someone at Guidefitter, call Jackson Reed at (208) 860-8942.

Special Instructor Deals thru Outdoor Edge

Outdoor Edge Cutlery Corporation offers hunter education instructors discounted items.  Click here for the catalog:  https://www.outdooredge.com/.

If you would like the Pro-Form order form sent to you, send an email to enforcement.education@state.mn.us and we will send one to you.

Upcoming Instructor Training Events




Kandiyohi County

DNR ATV and Snowmobile Safety Instructor Certification



McLeod County

DNR Hunter Education Firearms Safety Instructor Certification with Youth Field Day



Stearns County

DNR Hunter Education Firearms Safety Instructor Certification


 Forest Lake

Anoka County

DNR Hunter Education Firearms Safety Instructor Certification (Women Only)


 Thief River Falls

 Pennington County

DNR Hunter Education Firearms Safety Instructor Certification



Wadena County

DNR ATV and Snowmobile Safety Instructor Certification



Beltrami County

DNR Hunter Education Firearms Safety Instructor Certification


 Redwood Falls

Redwood County

DNR Hunter Education Firearms Safety Instructor Certification

Links to Websites


Henry Repeating Arms Company  .22 rifles, both Lever and Bolt action - 

718/499-5600 or visit their website at:  Henry Repeating Rifles

Hunter Safety Systems - Fall Arrest Harness   Toll Free 877-296-3528 or go to:         Savage Arms   .22 bolt action youth models - single shot

Third Hand Archery - Tree Stand Gun Hoist and other training aids available for purchase.

Education materials can be purchased at Federal Premium Education Materials.

IHEA - Subscribe to the International Hunter Education Association Email Newsletter.


Adaptive Equipment for Disabled Hunters  

Alan Madison DVDs

DNR Instructor Page

Ducks Unlimited

Hunter Education Tools

Izaak Walton League

MN Deer Hunters Association

MN Shooting Ranges

MN Volunteer Instructor Association

Nat'l Bow Hunter Ed Foundation

Nat'l Shooting Sports Foundation

Nat'l Wild Turkey Foundation

Outdoor Edge

Pheasants Forever

Ruffed Grouse Society

Safari Club

Turn In Poachers


American Council of Snowmobile Associations



Heads Up Braking System

MN 4-Wheel Drive Association

MN United Snowmobilers Association

Nat'l Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council